The IPCSC is authorized to review and approve petitions for new public charter schools. Petitioners must submit a formal petition as outlined in the New Petitioner Guidance. A Standards of Quality document provides greater detail regarding the content and quality of successful petitions.
The IPCSC requires petitioners to submit a budget using the provided budget template and to present at least two facility options using the provided facility option template. New petitioners must attend the Charter Start Workshop, hosted by the State Department of Education’s School Choice Department, prior to submitting a petition.
New petitions must be received by September 1st and approved by January 1st in order to be eligible to begin operations in the following school year.
Some operating charter schools are so successful that they may wish to open another school with an identical model. In this case, the petitioners would follow the same steps as would other new charter petitioners. Please contact IPCSC staff for guidance.
Idaho statute permits a public charter school to transfer from one authorizer to another. In order for this to occur, the public charter school, the old authorizer, and the new authorizer must all agree to the transfer and any associated amendments to the school’s charter and performance certificate.
Transferring to the IPCSC involves an in-depth review of the school’s academic, operational, and financial history, as well as its current status. In most cases, the school’s charter and performance certificate will require amendments to bring them in line with IPCSC standards. Please see the Guidance on Transfer Petitions for more information.
If you are interested in the possibility of a transfer, please contact IPCSC staff so we may provide guidance specific to your situation.
New Petitions FAQ
Who may submit a petition?
- Any group of persons, upon creating a nonprofit corporation, may petition to establish a new public charter school (I.C.§33-5204).
Who may authorize a petition?
- Non-sectarian institutions of higher learning, school district governing boards, and the IPCSC (Idaho Public Charter School Commission) may authorize charter schools in Idaho (I.C. §33.5202A).
To whom is a petition submitted?
- Petitioners may submit their petition directly to the authorizer of their choice. Petitions may only be considered by one authorizer at a time. Additionally, statute requires that a notification of intent to submit a petition be presented to any and all traditional school districts that overlap the proposed charter school’s primary attendance area. This notice mustbe provided 30 days before the petition is submitted to the intended authorizer for consideration.
When are petitions due?
- Petitions may be submitted at any time during the year. However, they must be received by the authorizer no later than September 1st in order to be eligible to open the following fall.
How long is the process?
- From the date of petition submission, the authorizer has 12 weeks to respond with a with an approval or denial recommendation. IPCSC staff forms this recommendation within the 12 week timeframe. During its next regular meeting, the IPCSC holds a hearing to consider the merits of the petition.
What content must be included in a petition?
- The New Petitioner Guidance and Standards of Quality provide detailed guidance on how to write a strong petition. All petitions must include the following narrative sections; educational program, finances and facilities, board capacity and governance structure, student demand and primary attendance area, and virtual and blended programs (if applicable). All petitions must also include various attachments including, but not limited to: budget template, facilities template, board member resumes, and board bylaws IDAPA 08.02.04.202.
What documents must be submitted?
- The Standards of Quality includes a checklist for completion. All petitions should be submitted as two PDF documents: the narrative and the appendices. It is also useful to include the budget in the excel format to facilitate a thorough review by IPCSC staff.
New Petition Submission Process
1 – Write a petition
- Contact the School Choice Specialist at the SDE and/or the IPCSC staff to introduce yourself, ask questions, and receive support.
- Use the Standards of Quality and New Petitioner Guidance to prepare your petition and appendices.
- Attend the Charter Start 101 workshop at the SDE.
2 – Notify Affected District(s)
- 4 weeks prior to submitting the petition to an authorizer (including the IPCSC ) submit your completed petition and cover letter to any and all traditional school districts whose boundaries overlap your proposed public charter school’s defined primary attendance area.
- The district cannot deny the petition or extend the timeline, but may ask you to attend a meeting to discuss the petition.
3 – Submit a Petition to the IPCSC
- New petitions may be submitted to an authorizer (in the same format they were presented to the district) any time after the district’s 4 week review period. However, they must be received by Sept. 1st in order to be eligible to open the following fall.
- Include a dated district notification letter in the petition appendices.
4 – IPCSC Staff Petition Review
- IPCSC staff will review the petition and will provide feedback to petitioners.
- Petitioners may submit one revisionin response to IPCSC staff feedback. Final revisions are due 30 days before the scheduled hearing
- The IPCSC staff will interview the petitioning group and board members with a goal of answering any outstanding questions and evaluating the board’s capacity to govern the proposed school. Please see the Board Governance Resources page for more information.
- IPCSC staff will form a recommendation within 12 weeks of receiving the petition.
- The IPCSC will hold a hearing to consider the merits of the petition at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
5 – Commissioner Petition Review
- Commissioners will be presented with the final petition (narrative and appendices) and a final evaluation report (including the final round of feedback presented to the petitioners, the IPCSC staff’s recommendation, and a summary of the board capacity interview) one week prior to the scheduled hearing.
6 – Hearing
- New petitions are scheduled for hearing at a regularly scheduled IPCSC meeting (which generally take place on the second Thursday of even months).
- The petitioning group will be invited to give a 15 minute presentation at the scheduled hearing. Petitioners may bring a PowerPoint and are encouraged to give a brief overview of their petition. They may also address any outstanding issues based on the final feedback. Commissioners may choose to ask further questions.
- The commission will vote to approve, approve with conditions, or deny the petition during the hearing.